All Things Dog

The Truth About Spaying and Neutering

Millions of unwanted dogs show up in animal shelters every year. It's a tragedy, but the good news is you can be part of the solution by spaying or neutering your dog.

These procedures don't just help curb pet overpopulation, they may increase the long-term health of your dog. Before deciding whether spaying or neutering is right for your dog, take a look at the facts.

MYTH: Spaying and neutering are expensive.

FACT: Spay and neuter surgeries carry a one-time cost that is relatively small when you consider the benefits. These procedures may reduce or eliminate the possibility of cancers and other diseases of the reproductive system. Ask your veterinarian about financial assistance, payment plans, or the name of a reputable organization that may perform the surgery for free. Local humane societies will often have assistance available.

MYTH: It's a shame to alter a purebred dog.

FACT: Unless you plan to show your purebred dog for conformation, spaying or neutering is highly recommended for his health and well-being. Spayed and neutered dogs are still eligible for obedience trials, field trials, hunting trials, and agility.

MYTH: My dog will get fat and lazy.

FACT: Overeating and lack of exercise will cause your dog to become fat and lazy. Some dogs do become more interested in food after being spayed or neutered, so you may need to feed smaller portions.

MYTH: My dog's behavior will change after being altered.

FACT: You might be surprised to learn that spaying or neutering may improve your dog's temperament. Dogs that are spayed or neutered are less focused on their mating drives. Many male dogs become less aggressive, less territorial, and wander less from their owners. Studies show that as many as 85% of dogs hit by cars are unaltered.

Ask your vet if you have questions—he or she can fully explain spay and neuter procedures to you, and recommend the best age to have this surgery.

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